Bellator 64 preview: Ben Askren vs. Douglas Lima

Bellator 64 takes place this Friday, April 6, at Caesar’s Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and features current Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren (9-0) defending his title against Douglas Lima (21-4) in the main event.

Aside from the 170 pound title fight, the main card will feature two bantamweight quarterfinal matches and a featherweight semifinal match-up between Alexandre Bezerra (13-1) and Marlon Sandro (21-3).

Bellator 64 will air LIVE on MTV2 and in HD on EPIX on Friday, April 6, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. The preliminary card will stream LIVE on at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT.

The undefeated Askren last fought in October 2011 when he successfully defended his title via split decision against Jay Hieron at Bellator 56. Prior to that he successfully defended his title against Nick Thompson via unanimous decision at Bellator 40 in April 2011.

Since making his pro mixed martial arts debut in February 2009, Askren has racked up nine straight victories. His last six were in Bellator, and five of the six he won via decision.

Bellator season-five welterweight tournament winner Douglas Lima has also won his last nine fights in a row. But it was his clean sweep of the season five welterweight tournament that earned him a shot at Bellator gold.

Starting with a unanimous decision victory over Steve Carl in the quarterfinals last September at Bellator 49, Lima went on to score a second round knockout over Chris Lozano in the semifinals at Bellator 53 in October. Then to cap it off, he scored a second round knockout over UFC veteran Ben “Killa B” Saunders in the tournament finals at Bellator 57 in November.

Lima, 24, has a big experience advantage in straight MMA bouts, but the 27-year-old Askren’s experience on the wrestling mats compensate for a lot too.

Without a doubt the 2008 Olympian has the wrestling advantage over Lima, and most every other welterweight in the sport. Askren is also a BJJ brown belt. His best bet is going to be to take the fight to the ground and grind it out.

However, 11 of Lima’s 21 wins have come by way of submission, so even if Askren gets the fight to the ground, there’s no guarantee he is going to survive 25 minutes without Lima taking home a limb. But what choice does he have? With seven of Lima’s wins coming by knockout, Askren is not going to want to get into a striking game with the Brazilian.

The main card for Bellator 64 is as follows:

– Ben Askren vs. Douglas Lima (welterweight title fight)
– Alexandre Bezerra vs. Marlon Sandro (featherweight tourney semifinal)
– Travis Marx vs. Masakatsu Ueda (bantamweight tourney quarterfinal)
– Rodrigo Lima vs. Hiroshi Nakamura (bantamweight tourney quarterfinal)

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